Employment is increasing as companies turn to temporary workers in a bid to ensure flexibility while the economy remains on uncertain ground, national statistics show.
Over the three months to the end of July, employment increased by 0.4 per cent – or 286,000 – to a total of 29.16m. This was the biggest rise in a quarter since mid 1989. Unemployment was down 0.1 per cent over the same time frame to 7.8 per cent, equating to 2.47m.
There was a 4.9% increase in the number of temporary workers though, bringing the total increase for the year to 10.3 per cent. This quarter’s increase is the largest since Q4 2004. What’s more, there are more part time than full time positions being taken though; 166,000 versus 121,000.
“The labour market remains a mixed picture,” said EEF senior economist Jeegar Kakkad. “While on the one hand more people are finding jobs, on the other the high level of temporary workers highlights how cautious companies remain about the momentum behind the recovery. The Bank of England must also be concerned about the continued rise in long-term unemployment which is likely to limit spare capacity in the economy if these workers no longer have the skills that companies need.”
Total employment remains 345,000 lower than at this time two years ago.